Can Israel call itself a ‘Jewish State’?

During his United Nations speech last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proposed that “a demilitarised Palestinian state recognise the one and only Jewish state”. While all previous holders of his office worked unceasingly for the recognition of Israel per se, the present incumbent has since his election four years ago insisted on the recognition … Read more

Shamir: A Colourless Tough Guy

Shamir: a colourless tough guy Yitzhak Shamir was the accidental prime minister. When Menachem Begin resigned in 1983, the mantle of responsibility fell on Shamir’s shoulders. The colourless, uninspiring, 68-year-old was the stop-gap choice instead of the feared Ariel Sharon and the lightweight David Levy. Yet, including the two years when he almost shared power … Read more

The Non-Jewish Jews who became the Scholars of an Ideological Dreamworld

During Jewish Book Week in February 1958, the great Marxist historian, Isaac Deutscher, gave a talk entitled “The Non-Jewish Jew”. It was later published and became required reading for the student revolutionaries of the 1960s. Deutscher tried to explain why some Jews embraced the revolutionary imperative and relegated their Jewishness to a secondary level. As … Read more

To Siberia

From the play, ‘The Snail and the Whale’ with our under-fives grandchildren to a 95th birthday party. Michael Sherbourne was a pivotal figure in the Soviet Jewry campaign in this country. He maintained telephone contact with many activists throughout the long years of Soviet denial of exit visas. In a collective email, a role-call of … Read more